The Complete Header Bidding Resource Center


What is Header Bidding?

Header bidding is a technique used by some publishers as an additional way to bring in revenue that they might not otherwise be able to access. It came out of frustration with structures imposed by ad servers that make it so that programmatic demand can’t be accessed all at once. This means publishers were leaving money on the table when awarding ad placements to bidding sources.

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The Complete Guide to Header Bidding

Read about header bidding from A-Z with this guide from our experts.

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Header Bidding Basics


6 Biggest Benefits of Header Bidding

Learn the ins and outs of header bidding and the 6 biggest benefits publishers can get from using this technique.

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What Is Header Bidding?

Learn more about what header bidding is and why publishers should be using this key piece of technology.

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Header Bidding for Publishers: Why You Need It

Five key reasons why header bidding is a must-have programmatic advertising innovation for publishers.

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Video Header Bidding: What Publishers Need to Know

Learn everything publishers need to know about video header bidding, and how to implement it.

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Technical Details About Header Bidding

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How In-App Header Bidding Works

Learn how you can utilize in-app header bidding to maximize your app advertising revenue.

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Exchange Bidding vs Header Bidding

In the Exchange Bidding vs header bidding showdown, who wins the night and brings in the most revenue for publishers? This article has the answers.

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How a Header Bidding Integration Works

Implementing header bidding is simply the process of setting up your website or app to do header bidding. Learn all the steps in the header bidding integration process.

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Header Bidding vs. Programmatic

Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably or can be confusing. Header bidding is one component of the programmatic ecosystem If you're new to the terms, take some time read this article.

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Learn how Letterboxd Realized a 200% Yield Increase from Header Bidding Alone

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Selecting a Header Bidding Partner


Best Header Bidding Partners

Learn more about the top header bidding partners available to publishers, and decide which is right for your needs.

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Playwire vs. DIY Header Bidding Solutions

Trying to decide between DIY header bidding and header bidding with Playwire? We’ll compare the two approaches so you know exactly what you’re in for no matter what.

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Going Beyond Header Bidding: Revenue Intelligence

Revenue Intelligence is proprietary technology Playwire has developed to be driven by a single purpose: to increase ad revenue for publishers. Read more about how it works.

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Learn how the combination of Header Bidding and Revenue Intelligence increased Raider.IO's ad revenue by 50%.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Header Bidding

How does header bidding work?

Header bidding takes multiple bids for a particular ad unit, allows them to compete in a unified auction and selects the winning bid to fill the ad slot.

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What is header bidding vs waterfall?

Before header bidding, the so-called “waterfall” approach dominated the programmatic advertising landscape. Basically, there would be a list of bidders. The request for bids on particular pieces of inventory would go to one bidder first and then to the next and so on, until one of them bid an acceptable amount of money on the inventory.




This created a problem. Publishers using this method miss out on potential revenue because they’re at the mercy of the first bidder to make a bid. Someone further down the chain might have been willing to bid more, but the publisher would have never known.

Header bidding solves that problem. The waterfall approach prioritizes the first bidder, but header bidding prioritizes the highest bidder. Header bidding is truly a publisher-first solution, aiming to truly maximize revenue for the publisher, by letting all bids compete. And the auction happens before an ad server is ever called. 

While the waterfall method pings the ad server with an estimated cost per mille (CPM), header bidding completes the auction and either allows the publisher or header bidding partner to pick the best one, or returns all the bids to the server, which will then pick the best in real time and in conjunction with direct demand and similar line items.

Why is header bidding important?

For publishers, the primary benefit of header bidding is clear: increased revenue. In fact, many publishers using header bidding have increased their CPMs for premium inventory by up to 50%, according to Digiday.

But there’s more to it than simply a jump in CPMs, although that’s a pretty compelling benefit. Because header bidding allows publishers to branch out and use multiple supply-side platforms (SSPs), average yield can increase due to an increased fill rate and better allocation of impressions.

Beyond CPMS and yield, publishers who use header bidding have more control. They can pick and choose which bidders are allowed to participate in the simultaneous auctions of their inventory. In some cases, they can even prioritize certain agencies and advertisers in their auctions to keep demand-generating relationships going strong.

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